Semiconductor stocks and exchange traded funds have been technology sector leaders this year.
Those leadership credentials will be put to the test this week as an avalanche of semiconductor earnings that lasts into early August kicks off Tuesday after the close with industry bellwether Intel (NasdaqGS: INTC) reporting.
Dow component Intel is the largest holding in the $461 million iShares PHLX Semiconductor ETF (NasdaqGM: SOXX) at a weight of 8.6%. SOXX has surged 22.5% this year, more than triple the 7.2% gain posted by the NASDAQ Composite.
SanDisk (NasdaqGS: SNDK), the eighth-largest holding in SOXX at a weight of 4.1%, steps into the earnings confessional Wednesday afternoon. Although the company is not a massive percentage of SOXX’s weight, SanDisk is viewed by analysts and traders as a bellwether chip stock when it comes to gauging consumer electronics demand. The shares are up 52.2%, which has certainly helped SOXX, but gains like that often imply little margin for error in terms of earnings gaffes. [Chip ETFs Survive Tech Momo Sell-Off]
Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD), the smallest holding in SOXX at 0.9%, reports Thursday. At less than 1% of the ETF’s weight, AMD is not likely to materially impact SOXX unless the company delivers a significant upside surprise that prompts a round of short covering.
“AMD’s short interest rose by about 2.5% to more than 111.69 million shares by the end of June. This was represented as about 18% of the stock’s float. It also followed a 5% increase in the number of shares short in the mid-June report,” reports Jon C. Ogg for 24/7 Wall Street.
On Thursday, Skyworks Solutions (NasdaqGS: SWKS), one of this year’s best chip stocks, reports. The company is 2.2% of SOXX’s weight. Earlier Tuesday, Oppenheimer said Skyworks is likely to provide fourth-quarter guidance that exceeds estimates and that the company is gaining traction as a supplier to Apple (NasdaqGS: AAPL). The shares have surged 73.2%, helping SOXX and some other chip ETFs along the way. [Surprising Leader Among Tech ETFs]
As for possible signs from the world of leveraged ETFs as to what to expect from semiconductor earnings, the Direxion Daily Semiconductors Bull 3x Shares (NYSEArca: SOXL) has seen positive creation activity over the past month, but only modestly more than what has been seen in the Direxion Daily Semiconductors Bear 3x Shares (NYSEArca: SOXS), according to Direxion data. Those ETFs attempt to deliver three times the daily performance or inverse performance of the HLX Semiconductor Sector Index, which is the underlying index for SOXX.
iShares PHLX Semiconductor ETF